Every morning, the day spreads before us full of tasks and obligations, each of them clear and each commensurate with our station in life: go to work, feed a baby, tend an invalid, shop, wash, repair, plant. We know what we have to do. We keep a list of it.
You, God, have put us in this life's place and intend it for our good. If we accomplish the tasks you set us, we stand good and obedient before You. Like a child who makes his bed or ties his shoes, then raises his eyes to be praised, we do what you ask of us.
You want more than practical work, however. You want repentance, goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, love, discipleship, fellowship, the breaking of bread, prayer. These rise before us, too--our spiritual to-do list.
The same to-do lists that frame our days, however, also separate us from you. Their objects, the people and tasks they involve, so easily block our view of You, who are their real purpose. We forget we do not live to do jobs for you, jobs you could more easily do Yourself. Instead, we live to find You.
You want us to want you and have woven tasks into our constant yearning. You are found within the tasks you give, and the tasks exist only as framework or venue. They are not You. We are not to achieve tasks. We are to achieve communion. Even if we check everything off, if we do our jobs well, both earthly and spiritual, we could still have left our most important task undone.
In the end, we have only one item on our list: to know You.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.--Proverbs 2:1-5
I will go before you and level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I AM the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.--Isaiah 45:2-3
You give me jobs so that I can find You in the context of a life You created and embellished for one purpose. My job is not to complete all the tasks to find You; it is to know You every moment while I do them. The work itself is prayer. The work is worship. It is obedience. It is where I reach out and You meet me.